Tom Pursglove, minister for disabled people, admitted this month that waiting times for PIP and ESA inquiry lines have been too long, but says that PIP claimants will have to wait until the end of the summer to see an improvement.

Pursglove was answering an oral question from Labour MP Kerry McCarthy about waiting times for PIP and ESA calls.

In response, he told the MP:

“The Department recognises that wait times for the PIP and ESA inquiry line have been too long. To reduce waiting times, we are recruiting more staff and, in the short term, are diverting staff to support better performance. PIP recruitment is expected to reduce waits by the end of summer, while ESA waiting times have improved significantly in recent weeks . . . What I can say, hopefully to reassure the House, is that we are seeing 600 additional agents recruited for PIP from April and for ESA 160 additional agents will be put on telephony through both recruitment and redeployment.”

Whilst 600 new staff does sound like it should lead to a big improvement in waiting times, we don’t know how many staff are currently employed in order to learn what sort of percentage increase in staffing this adds up to.

And, of course, the ultimate test will be whether claimants can actually get through and then get a useful answer to their questions.  Much of this will depend on how well the 600 new staff are trained.

So, we’ll continue to ask readers to comment on their experiences on our PIP Enquiry Line page.

You can read the full commons exchange on PIP and ESA inquiry line waiting times here.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    GBH · 8 months ago
    hello i am a new subscriber and enjoy the read and problems you all encountereing
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    DG · 10 months ago
    I applied for PIP in May 22. I scored 0 points after scoring 6 in my 2019 application. How did she work that out? The MRN score was 6. I then said I would go to a tribunal. Any further requests for a reconsideration were ignored. I got my MP involved. Apparently I should have got him involved at MRN stage. Anyway he contacted the assessment team to be told the lady who did my assessment was no longer working there and there were many inconsistencies. I have since provided GP letter detailing how I meet 4F in the washing and bathing section. The DWP have said I still don’t meet the criteria and its position remains unchanged. Looks like it’ll be a tribunal and I’ll ask them why if a GP provides evidence it is still not good enough. I’m outraged at how long this process is taking. My application is now 14 months old. It’s demoralising and very unfair. They should be ashamed. 
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    Jamie · 10 months ago
    Depends on how well the staff are trained?! You would think in order to be employed they were capable. What is the point employing people who are incompetent! 
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    Judy · 10 months ago
    I tried phoning PIP helpline as I had received a letter saying that my review form was not back on time and they were going to stop my money. It had arrived in time, as I had sent it signed for, so I knew it had arrived in time. When I eventually got through (one and a half hours later!) the chap said, "oh yes they had received it and to get the letter cancelled he was going to have to speak to his manager, and could I stay on the line while he did it". A little bit of music came on, then the phone went dead!!! I have now checked my bank account and they had not paid me my PIP!!! So wish me luck whilst I try to sort this out this afternoon!!! 
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    Paul donald Thorp · 10 months ago
    thee waiting time is a big problem  and once you finely get through i find the security checks drawn out but good  ,
    the big problem that gets me is after you go through all the palaver to find the guy on other end isnt listening and puts me through to wrong dept 
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    clur1965 · 10 months ago
    I used to work for DWP/JobentrePlus and I’ve worked in a call centre too. So I have a bit of knowledge that I’d like to share with B&W members.

    I rang PIP yesterday morning and got thru straight away.

    So, the phone lines open bang on 09:00. Pop the 0800 number in and as soon as the clock ticks from 08:59 to 09:00 hit dial.

    After selecting the correct options it’ll take you about 5 mins to navigate the IVR telephony system to confirm your ID. You stand a good chance of getting thru quickly.

    Good luck!
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    Maureen · 10 months ago
    I had many frustrating waits to PIP helpline acting on behalf of my nephew who had the benefit stopped after telephone review with a nurse (who was lovely, caring and understanding) but whose report was totally ignored by decision maker. Did Mandatory Reconsideration and was turned down again.Helpline staff useless, not consistent with their knowledge. I wanted to become representative for my nephew to speak on his behalf as he unable to do so with his problems. Some staff said I had to be Appointee, whilst others said I only need be a third party representative, had to do complaint (which was backed up by MP) which was taken by a Case Manager. Lady applied for me to become an Appointee but was told it could take a long time as DWP have to send me an appointment to come and visit me at home for proof of ID and interest. No word as yet. Now we are building the Appeal and my nephew is very ill with being cut off. No-one cares. The DWP are cruel and ruthless in deliberately cancelling PIP claims to meet targets.
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    Denise · 10 months ago
    I sent my PIP renewal/change of circumstances in Nov 22, apart from text to say it was recieved I am still waiting. Tried phoning numerous occasions, got through once & was cut off & the rest I have been on hold waiting for over 45mins then I gave up. Now have another change in health & really don't want to tell them. The stress & anxiety is making me ill 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      LC · 10 months ago
      @Steph 3 weeks mine arrived 30th June and had till 6th July to complete
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Steph · 10 months ago
      @Denise And the claimant gets a total of three weeks to fill it all in.  It really is disgusting!
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    Julie morrow · 10 months ago
    I have contacted my MP Ian Paisley several times since claiming benefits for the last 16 years and  have never ever had a reply from him. I see the emails have been read but not even a courtesy reply.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Catherine · 10 months ago
      @Julie morrow He doesn't care about the people who have health problems, next time elections come around don't vote for him
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    Unhappy Cornish Person · 10 months ago
    In Cornwall, positions are being offered at £23k for DWP checkers. The lucky applicants will work 2 days in the office and 3 days at home.

    Doesn't mention the training period, but local suggestions hint at 6 weeks before being let loose on claimants. 

    Quite how a claims checker, working at home can provide full support, Is beyond me. What if assistance is needed from a manager ?

    It appears that in a rush to clear the backlog, poorly trained staff are being put into the front line, mistakes are bound to be made.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Dawnw · 10 months ago
      @Unhappy Cornish Person I worked on the UC helpline for a few months. I was given 10 days training. We did have access to our Tena members and chats set up to help us, so we did have help on hand, I presume a similar setup will be provided. 
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    anxious · 10 months ago
    i recently had a pip assessment over the phone and had my pip completely taken off me , this leaves me now with the nightmare off reconsideration and appeals , the assessor who was a nurse apparently was absolutely dreadful
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